Thursday, July 9, 1981

18. Sula, Montana

Day 18:  Thursday, July 9, 1981
Florence to Sula:  65 miles

The early morning chill helped tame the mosquitoes, and we put up with them through breakfast.  Sunrise over the Bitterroot was beautiful.  Rick took his time cooking breakfast, so we hit the road at least an hour ahead of him.  That was the last we were to see of him for three days.

The Eastside Highway along the Bitterroot was flat and scenic.  We stopped in Corvallis, one block off the road, for a midmorning snack at a friendly baker's shop.  Rick probably passed us here, and continued on for several days, thinking we were still ahead of him.

Friendly baker
A friendly baker

In Hamilton, we lost Jack when Guy and I stopped at the Chamber of Commerce, but he turned up half an hour later.

RR station in Hamilton
The old railroad station in Hamilton

North of Darby, we took the old road, which was winding and scenic, with little traffic.  It also had a mile of gravel.  The Bitterroot Mountains, which had been on our right all day, drew closer, and we began climbing toward Lost Trail Pass.

Sula officially has a population of five.  I pulled in to the store just as the owner was about to close it to go fix a washing machine.

Our campsite this evening was about five miles past Sula, at the base of the steep part of the climb to the pass.  But a small headwind combined with the steepening grade to exhaust us in those five miles.  The campsite was several miles down a gravel road, and was primitive - outhouses, no showers - but there was water.  And mosquitoes once again.  Guy slept outside, not using a tent, as was his custom.  I don't know how he kept those bugs away.  But Jack and I stuck to the comfort of the tent and our newly-purchased sleeping pads.

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